Welcome to the Animal Services Division!

Tulare County Animal Services Update

Tulare County Animal Services is available by appointment only.  Please click here for a pdf version of this update.

June 10, 2020

TCAS is dedicated to service to both the humans and animals of the community. In an effort to keep shelter animals, staff, and the community safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tulare County Animal Services has modified operations and created a proactive plan to mitigate unnecessary gathering of people, and protect both the staff and the public. We would like to inform the residents of unincorporated Tulare County of the following:

Field Services

Our Animal Control Officers are dedicated to promoting public safety. At this time, our officers are focusing on emergency and urgent calls, which may include: Law Enforcement assistance, calls for severely sick or injured animals, animal bite incidents, vicious animals, loose livestock causing a public safety concern, or other emergency calls for service. Officers will also respond to non-emergency calls for service as time permits, but please be patient as we currently have a maximum of 3 Animal Control Officers running all of the calls throughout Tulare County. Please call 559-636-4050 x 0 in order to report an animal related issue.

Shelter Operations

TCAS is dedicated to saving lives, providing humane treatment to the animals in our care, and reuniting pets with their families. At this time, the shelter will remain accessible to the public by appointment only. Please call the shelter at 559-636-4050 in order to plan your visit.

  • Looking for your lost pet?

Please check our website at www.tcanimalservices.org or www.petharbor.com in order to see all of the pets currently at the shelter. If you see your pet on the list, please call us to arrange to come pick them up. Don’t have the ability to look online? Call us and we will help you. Experiencing a financial hardship and afraid that you cannot pay the fines to reclaim your animal? TCAS is dedicated to getting your pet back into your care, please call and speak with us.

  • Looking to adopt a pet?

Please check the website for adoptable pets and call the shelter to arrange a meet and greet. At this time, we are doing adoptions by appointment in order to comply with social distancing guidelines.

  • Found a lost pet?

If you have found a stray dog or a sick or injured animal and wish to bring it to the shelter, please follow the directions posted on the gate. It will direct you to call the office and remain in your vehicle in order to minimize contact. A staff member will take your information over the phone and come to the vehicle to retrieve the animal. If you have found a stray animal who is not sick, injured, aggressive, or in need of urgent assistance, we would suggest first attempting to find the owners utilizing social media and checking with neighbors. You can also file a Found Animal report with a picture of the animal at www.tcanimalservices.org which will be posted on our website for owners who are looking for their lost pet to see. Please call the shelter if the animal is injured, sick, or you have questions or need guidance. We are happy to help!

  • Have a feral cat or kittens?

At this time we are not taking in cats or kittens unless they are sick or injured. Please call the shelter if you have questions or need kitten care supplies. We have Kitten Care Packs with everything you might need to care for kittens found in the unincorporated areas of the County and will gladly support you in that process!

  • Need to license your pet?

You can license your pet online or through the mail! Please go to www.tcanimalservices.org for more information.

Thank you to our community for your patience during these unprecedented times, and for coming together to assist both the humans and animals of Tulare County!

Don't Kit-Nap Kittens

It is far too often a well-meaning person stumbles upon a litter of young kittens, scoops them up, and takes them into their local shelter. Unfortunately, this is not the best option for the kittens and, in most cases, the mother cat was nearby. Most shelters and rescues don’t have the resources available to care for neonatal kittens. Their best chance of survival is with their mom! It’s also important to know that once kittens have been removed from their mother, she will go into heat again immediately resulting in more kittens!

Free-roaming female cats that have not been spayed often leave their kittens alone for a few hours each day. She may spend time away hunting or searching for a new place to move her kittens. Sometimes the mother cat has simply been scared away by a loud noise and is nearby waiting for a safe return. Although you may not be able to see her, she can see you and will wait until it is all clear to return to the nest. For this reason, it is best to leave the kittens where they are and monitor from a distance. If the kittens are in an unsafe location, it’s okay to move them to a safer area nearby where the mom can easily find them. It is a common misconception that a mother cat will not care for her kittens if they are touched, but don’t worry she doesn’t mind. However, don’t be surprised if they’re moved the next time you check on them!

If you find neonatal kittens the best thing to do is leave them alone! Mom will most likely come back. If the kittens are content and not constantly meowing, then mom has probably been there recently.

A few ways to know if mom has been caring for them are:

  1. They have full bellies-they have eaten recently if their bellies are slightly firm and round
  2. The nest is clean-mother cats don’t allow their nests to be overly soiled.
  3. The kittens are warm and content, possibly sleeping and they respond when disturbed.

If the kittens are cold or don’t respond to your touch, they are not healthy and need your help.

If you’re still unsure whether the mother is returning, you can place a ring of flour around the nest and check it after a few hours for pawprints or for other signs of being disturbed.

If the mother returns, celebrate! Great job keeping them safe! You can continue to help them by keep tabs on mom and kittens until they are 8 weeks old and can be trapped, spayed or neutered, and returned to the area they came from. This is the most humane and most effective way of preventing cats from entering the shelter system.

If the mother cat hasn’t returned for 24 hours, the kittens are likely orphans. In this case, you are the next best thing! By fostering the kittens you are freeing space in the shelter as well as increasing their chances of survival by providing the one-on-one care and attention they need. If you need assistance with supplies or have questions regarding their care, you can contact Tulare County Animal Services at 559-636-4050. You can also visit resources.bestfriends.org for more information about caring for orphaned kittens.

Please click here to download the Don't Kit-Nap Kittens flier.

Pets and Heat

We all love spending the long, sunny days of summer outdoors with our furry companions, but hot weather can prove dangerous. Dogs are not good at keeping themselves cool, so providing protection for our pets in hot weather is critical.


Heatstroke is a serious problem for pets. Heatstroke occurs when the body’s temperature exceeds a healthy range, and it can be fatal. Seek emergency veterinary care if you observe any of these signs:

  • Anxiousness
  • Excessive panting
  • Restlessness
  • Excessive drooling
  • Unsteadiness
  • Glassy eyes
  • Abnormal gum and tongue color
  • Collapse

Death Trap

We hear about tragedies when babies are left in vehicles on hot days, but heatstroke, brain damage, and even death is far more common with pets left in hot cars. Even a few minutes in a car on a hot day (even with the windows cracked) can be deadly. Research shows that the interior temperature can rise 20 degrees in just 10 minutes, even on cooler days. On a 90-degree day, the inside temperature can reach a sweltering 125 degrees in a half hour.

Pets can’t perspire like humans to cool themselves off via evaporation, so they must pant to cool themselves. If the air is too hot, then panting has little cooling effect, and the dog quickly overheats.

It’s also a bad idea to let your dog ride in an open pickup truck in hot weather, since truck beds are often dark colors, which get very hot.

The Long, Hot Summer: Cooling Tips

Outside Pets

  • Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun
  • Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors.
  • If your dogs stay outside during the day, make sure they don’t tip over their water bowl.
  • Even dogs that are used to being outside can suffer during hot weather. If a severe heat advisory is issued, it is a good idea to bring them indoors. If your dog cannot be brought indoors, a ventilated or air-conditioned garage or other structure may provide enough shelter in some cases.
  • Kiddie pools are a nice way to give dogs a cool dip.

Inside Pets

  • Pets that spend most of the summer inside are generally protected, but when temperatures outside get hot, inside temperatures can, too.
  • Some pet owners shut off fans and air conditioning when they leave for the day to reduce energy costs. Instead of turning off the A/C, try just leaving it on a conservative but comfortable setting (perhaps mid-70s).
  • Close curtains to reduce sunlight’s heating effects.
  • Make sure pets have plenty of fresh water in a shaded spot, since sun coming through a window can heat a bowl of water, and most pets won’t drink hot water, no matter how thirsty they are.

Outside Activities

  • Don’t walk, run, or hike with a dog during the hottest parts of the day; do so in the morning or evening when its cooler. Take frequent breaks, and bring water along.
  • Avoid hot surfaces, like asphalt, that can burn your pet’s paws. Before taking your dog for a walk, check the ground for hotness with one of your own hands or bare feet. If you can’t keep your hand (or foot) on the ground for more than three seconds, it’s probably too hot to walk your furry friend.

Hair and Heat

Grooming dogs can help keep them comfortable as the heat rises, but never shave your dog—the layers of a dog’s coat protect the dog from overheating and sunburn. Dogs with bald patches, short coats, close cuts, or Nordic breeds, who are prone to auto-immune–related sun diseases, may need protection from the sun. However, be sure that any sunscreen you use is labeled specifically for pets. White cats can get sunburned if they lie in the sun too long, even if they stay indoors. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat.

Risky Business

Remember that younger, older, overweight, or thick-coated pets, and those with health issues are more likely to become dehydrated or ill from heat exposure. Short-nosed animals (such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Boston Terriers, Pekingese, Boxers, Shih Tzu’s, French Bulldogs, and Persian cats) are less tolerant of heat and are especially at risk of overheating. You should keep a close eye on your pet when it’s hot, no matter what breed, age, or state of health.

A little empathy goes a long way to protect our pets in summer. If it’s too hot for us to stay comfortable in the car, in the yard, or on a walk, it’s even hotter for our furry friends. Our pets rely on us to protect them and keep them comfortable and safe, all year round!

Plan for Pets

COVID-19: Include Your Pets in Planning

Please click here for your Pet Care Plan.

With the number of diagnosed cases of COVID-19 increasing daily in the County, it is important that people make a care plan for their pets and livestock should they become sick and need to leave their home for treatment.

 “While Tulare County Animal Services remains dedicated to the welfare of both the animals and people of the community and continues to respond to urgent calls for service, the animal shelter does not have the ability to house a large influx of animals. We are urging the public to create a care plan for their pet in the unlikely event that they were temporarily unable to care for them.” –Cassie Heffington, Animal Services Manager, Tulare County Animal Services

To develop a pet care plan, pet owners are encouraged to:

  1. Identify a temporary caregiver for your pets – check with friends, family, and neighbors, or with pet-sitters and boarding kennels.
  2. Create a written emergency plan for each of your pets. Make sure to include:
    1. The name and contact information for your pet’s temporary caregiver. Be sure to include their cell phone number.
    2.  Your pet’s name, breed, and age.
    3.  Your veterinarian, their clinic name and phone number.
    4.  A copy of your pet’s vaccination records.
    5.  A description of any medical concerns for your pet and directions for any medications they take.
    6.  Your pet’s feeding schedule and directions.
  3. Put together a bag or storage box with supplies that your pet might need for two weeks (food, bowls, travel kennel, leash, cat litter, etc.). If your pet is on any medications, make sure to include a two-week supply. Set them aside with a copy of your plan where they can easily be found.

In the unlikely event that you are temporarily unable to care for you pets, having a good plan ahead of time will help provide you with peace of mind, knowing that they will continue to be well cared for in a comfortable environment.

Online Dog Licensing Payments Now Available for Residents of Unincorporated Areas of Tulare County

Tulare County Animal Services provides dog licensing services for all of the unincorporated areas of Tulare County.  If your dog gets lost, a valid license will identify the dog and his/her owner and allow us to reunite lost pets with their owners.  Having your dog licensed also shows that your dog has a current rabies vaccination.  Plus, dog licensing is the law.

To make the process easier, Tulare County Animal Services is now accepting online payments for dog licensing.  Both new and renewal dog licensing can be done online along with updating information on your dog. 

If you are not sure if your address is in the city limits or county please click on the Tulare County Elections website and enter your address.  If you live within the city limits of Dinuba, Exeter, Farmersville, Lindsay, Porterville, Tulare, Visalia or Woodlake, please contact your city's local dog licensing department.


Are you a cat person?

Do you love spending time with cats and kittens? Would you like to take care of and play with them on a part-time basis?

Tulare County Animal Services is seeking volunteers to assist in making sure our cats are happy and healthy at the PetSmart Adoption Centers in Visalia and Porterville! 

We need dedicated people to tend to the cats daily--make sure they all have food and water, clean their cages and litter boxes, and socialize (play!) with them. It usually only takes about an hour at most (but you can play with our friendly felines as long as you'd like!). We have morning shifts (sometime between 8am & 10am) and late afternoon/early evening shifts (sometime between 4pm & 6pm).

If interested, please contact us at (559) 636-4050 and/or fill out a volunteer application. It is available online, and you can return it electronically, by fax at (559) 713-3716, by mail, or stop by the shelter at 14131 Ave. 256 (just east of Lovers Lane) in Visalia. The kitties look forward to seeing you!

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